Headteacher’s Weekly Bulletin
Thursday 2nd April 2015
I have just left the staffroom having bid farewell to two colleagues at opposite ends of their careers.. First of all, Miss Gill in Social Science leaves us after three years as Mrs Taylor-Crooke’s side-kick to assume the post of curriculum leader in Psychology at North Chadderton High School, a school located much nearer to home. She will be sadly missed by students and colleagues alike.
After 17 years of loyal service, site team stalwart Brian Richards reaches a landmark birthday on Saturday and has chosen to retire. In fact, he isn’t disappearing entirely and will still be maintaining his association with us. A painter and decorator by trade, Brian’s manner and work ethic typifies that of all our support staff; they are integral to the team and always go above and beyond for the students and for their colleagues. As teachers, we are indebted to our co-workers like Brian. We wish him well in his ‘gained time’.
I’ll have to race through the rest of this bulletin as dismissal begins in 30 minutes, so here goes … (and thanks to colleagues for another week’s / term’s unparalleled commitment and enthusiasm on behalf of the Wellington students as illustrated by the features herein).
Year 7 Homework Project
This piece from Assistant Headteacher, Mrs Shelley, about a highly successful project she has been co-ordinating in recent weeks.
“As many of you know, Year 7 students have had a change of format for some of their homework this half term. They have been working on projects in Geography, Science, MFL, Technology and Art. The students were given a variety of different titles and had to produce a piece of work based around their chosen title. Students were given complete autonomy over how they interpreted the project title and how they chose to present their projects. The outcomes of their hard work culminated in an evening where they had to discuss their projects with parents, teachers and governors who came to listen to them talk about what they had learnt. This event took place on Monday and Tuesday evening in the Watson Hall and the feedback from staff, students, parents and governors was extremely positive. Students had really enjoyed this style of homework and taking responsibility for their learning, and parents, staff and governors were very impressed with the knowledge that students had gained and the way they had chosen to showcase their work.”
The planning required and the nature of the tasks determine that this cannot entirely replace more traditional forms of homework but it can certainly enhance and supplement what exists already. The projects were as much about skill as well as knowledge acquisition, and the presentation skills of all the Year 7 students ought to be commended. More of the same to follow for these students but also other year groups.
A big thank you to Mrs Shelley, Mr Fenwick, Miss Davison and other staff who guided and supported the students in any capacity.
Wednesday 1st April
Mrs Mackay writes, “60 Year 9 pupils were involved in an employer - led careers event entitled ‘How are the subjects I’m studying going to help me in my future career ?’
The pupils worked in groups of 5 looking at various employability skills. This took the form of a number of activities that involved a team of employers from a number of companies from all over the UK.
The pupils entered the activity with trepidation but throughout the morning they grew in confidence and were able to present their ideas and findings to each of the other groups, showing awareness and confidence. The employers interacted with the pupils and drew from their own experiences of the world of work, which interested and inspired the pupils to ask lots of questions.
Quotes from students “ It was great talking to real people from real jobs”; “ Really good morning with lots of interesting activities”; “Didn’t realise a manager from Marks and Spencer would be so easy to talk to”.
A huge thank you goes to the following employers who gave of their time freely to give our pupils an insight into the world of work :
James Walton - Chief Economist, IGD.
Guy Mason – Head of Corporate Affairs for Morrisons.
Liz Payne – HR & Training Manager for Compass Group.
Jim Shannon – Distribution Manager for Booker Group.
Simon Connor – Foods Section Manager for Marks & Spencer.
Katy Kershaw – HR Manager for AB World Foods
Gabrielle McBride – Diversity & Inclusion Manager for Asda.
Sinead O’Brien – Future First Employer Opportunity.
A summary of some recent activity in Year 8;
“8.3a made the most of the solar eclipse and were set the challenge of creating their own eclipse to demonstrate all of the descriptive writing skills they have been learning in recent weeks. The class had one hour to write a mini story as if they were a prehistoric race that feared the eclipse, be resourceful and find vocabulary, similes and metaphors to describe the event and then create drawings of the imagery included in their story to make sure their writing allowed readers to imagine their descriptions. Well done 8.3a, although obviously Miss Hitchens’ giant eclipse (made in one hour she adds) was truly astronomical too!
81a were set an independent homework project about vampires to go alongside their work on the novel My Swordhand is Singing. They were asked to research myths surrounding vampires in cultures around the world and the way vampires are represented in literature, films and art. Presentation style and content was largely up to them and so the majority produced booklets although one group produced an excellent video.
They had roughly four weeks of homework time to produce it. The best ones are beautifully illustrated, well-researched, interesting to read and all in the pupil’s own words. Some of them clearly have put in a great deal of work.”
Year 10 Geographers held their annual 3 day pilgrimage to Shropshire this week and Miss English has provided one of her usually succinct reports;
“‘On Monday morning the Geography Department took fifty Year 10 students to a little village in the middle of the Shropshire countryside. We stayed in a ‘haunted’ manor house overlooking some lovely landscapes. After giving them 20 minutes to get changed, we quickly rushed the students out into the slightly soggy weather to enjoy the fresh air. According to the girls we ‘walked miles’, but a little bit of exercise was appreciated by all. There was lots of wildlife spotted on the walk including a horse (which Bradley thought was a cow) and lots of rabbits and pheasants! After warming up with some tea it was time for the famous Shropshire Quiz, the winners getting an amazing 35 out of 43! Well done girls & Jordan!
Tuesday saw the weather brighten slightly, and the students were keen to get their waterproofs on and get in the river (Risk assessments had been carried out – Mr Beeley). We measured a range of different variables, including velocity, gradient and material size, to see how a river changes downstream. We then battled against hail - some of us (Luke & Lucy) dancing up the mountain, trying to find the source of the river, which unfortunately turned out to be seriously underwhelming to most of the students. In Luke’s words ‘Miss you made us climb to the top of the world to look at a puddle.’ I think the walk back down, the break from the weather and the hot chocolate waiting on their arrival made their day far better!
Wednesday saw Mr Holt pull a fantastic ‘April Fool’s’ informing the students that the motorway was closed and various alternative forms of transport would have to be used instead! The groans were quickly gone as we went on a tour of the local farm, looking at the cows and calves, some only days old. The highlight of the trip for Jordan and Tom was definitely watching a lamb be born and then attempt to stand up for the first time! The students left tired, but definitely not hungry, and incredibly sad to be leaving, despite the lack of 3G – anywhere! I am sure the activities completed while there will add to the students understanding of rivers and prepare them for their GCSE exam.’
Miss Week’s forwarded this item from the Language Leaders about a hugely success event during which our pupils were a real credit to the MFL department and to the school.
“Between Wednesday the 25th March and Friday the 27th March, Wellington School had numerous primary schools come and visit them for some MFL tuition. We began with The Willows, then Navigation, followed by Park Road and finally we ended with Heyes Lane Primary, a staggering 200 primary school pupils in total! Around the Watson Hall were many different stations complete with languages based activities to get the children to interact with each other, the Language Leaders and the language itself. For example, we had ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ in German, traditional French handwriting, school subjects in Spanish, French conversation and everybody was treated to Miss McShane’s energetic Spanish Zumba routine. Let’s not forget the ever so popular continental café filled with croissants, Frikadellen (German meatballs), Belgian chocolate, Chorizo and much more! It was really interesting to be able to teach the children and make it fun for us and for them at the same time. Overall, having the role of a Language Leader definitely rewards you great opportunities like primary school events but it also rewards you with a sense of pride and achievement when you are able to enjoy such a day and be able give back what you’ve learnt to somebody else.”
Miss Weeks also forwards this sympathy card by Emily Holt (10PRR) which demonstrates genuine empathy for our counterparts elsewhere with this beautifully written yet sad message and gesture following the tragic event of last week;
“On the 24th March 2015, a German plane crashed in the French Alps, tragically all 144 passengers and six crew members were killed including 16 exchange students and 2 teachers. As Language Leaders, our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and we cannot begin to imagine how horrible this time must be for them, especially as we have had our own German exchange and our friends have participated. So, we took the time to write a card of condolences addressed to the Joseph-König High School to say ‘sorry for your loss and we hope you get the closure you need and deserve.’ This was important to us as our own school community is so close-knit, we know that it must be incredibly painful to lose beloved students and staff.”
What a great report and what lovely sentiments expressed. Thank you to Miss Weeks and all the Languages Leaders for spreading the gospel of Wellington and languages – two things close to my heart.
From Miss Hoban: On Wednesday there was a fabulous “Big Bake Off” competition in aid of the Anthony Nolan charity which many pupils across the whole school entered. It was their task to bake a cake or muffins with an MFL theme and they did not disappoint! The cakes were fabulous and were judged by the ‘Language Leaders’ as well as by members of staff. A huge well done to all pupils involved. The winners will be announced shortly!
More from MFL, this time form Miss McShane.
“Our recent foray into a new, exciting language has now come to an end. A small group of students and one member of staff took the opportunity to learn a new language by attending a series of lessons with Russian student, Luke McAdam, from Manchester University. Luke taught the group about basic introductions, Russian culture, general conversation, opinions and colours – although the most challenging part was that all of this was done using the Russian alphabet, which is very different to our own! Lauren Roberts, Year 10, wrote about her experience, “Although it was quite complex at times, we learnt so much in the space of five weeks and it wasn’t just learning a language, we learnt about a whole culture! Having a teacher who had actually lived in Russia for a year was definitely helpful and his stories were really interesting.” Overall, it was a fantastic experience and a great insight into a different culture, many thanks to Luke & the University of Manchester”
KS3/4 Trafford Cheerleading and Dance competition.
Miss Richards reports on the latest endeavours of our cheerleading crew (or whatever the collective term might be);
“27 Wellington ‘Wild Cats’ plus 2 Year 10 dancers competed in this prestigious event. We were thrilled by many primary groups before it was our turn but we waited, ready to pounce! With our new bright green T-shirts, our chant was superb, our formations were tidy and our moves were slick!
Well done to all the girls who have worked so hard since January and achieved second place.
Congratulations must also go to Toullie McVey and Megan Roylance who also performed a GCSE grade 10 piece as a duet and both received trophies for their hard work.”
I’m sure the girls appreciate your support and input, Miss Richards, so thank you on their and our behalf. I think they should perform in assembly / the staffroom / on Sports Day.
Unfortunately, all three scheduled fixtures against Stretford Grammar were cancelled due to unplayable pitches.
There will be 7-a-side tournaments for all teams in the summer term.
Sixth Form News
Sixth Form Study Day – Wednesday 1st April
“During the day the whole of the Sixth Form participated in a range of workshops to aid them in their final preparations for the summer exams. This included workshops which focused on learning styles, revision and study techniques, target setting, developing your mind set and stress management. The day was extremely beneficial to all our students and certainly provided some timely support and advice as students finish for Easter and begin their final exam preparation.”
This event was run by the same organisation that supported us with a similar event for Year 11 earlier in the term. The Wellington staff present spoke highly of the experience on both occasions but I suppose we never quite know, despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback, how much each component part of our support ‘package’ for those sitting exams contributes towards the summer’s results. We have an open-mind and are constantly looking for additional ways to ‘add value’.
Year 9 News
Another detailed update from the dynamic Year 9 team led by Miss Hodges;
“On Tuesday 6 Year 9 boys completed the final part of their Sky Sports ‘Living for Sport’ project. They have been working for the last few months with Mr Gubbins and I to develop their knowledge of a new game (Volleyball) and their leadership skills. The boys had never played or experienced volleyball before so their first challenge was to get to grips with the skills, tactics and rules. Once they had developed the knowledge they needed they then progressed to developing their leadership skills. They have been learning about the key qualities needed to be a good coach and have been creating their own sessions that cover warm ups, skills and game play. On Tuesday the boys all delivered a 1 hour long lesson to a group of Year 7 students, putting all of their hard work from the last few months into practice. I was so incredibly proud to see each of the boys working so sensibly and maturely with the Year 7 students, showing patience, initiative and confidence in their delivery of their sessions. This is a huge achievement for these boys, who at the start of the project struggled to communicate and be patient with each other!
This morning 9 Year 9 pupils were taken to Frankie and Benny’s for a reward breakfast. These pupils were the year 9 Superheroes. They had achieved the accolade of ‘superhero’ for 3 half terms in a row which means they had 100% attendance, no lates, no referrals, no notes in their planner and they had earned behaviour watch points! The pupils had a fantastic time filling up before returning to school for break and period 3. It’s lovely to reward our pupils who very simply have got everything right all year.”
I am delighted with the varied and creative ways staff have elected to reward students this year with this being a real focus of the School. It should be noted that the way we have set out rewards allows every student to be recognised and ‘achieve’, it isn’t simply about those performing highest in academic terms. Participation, contribution and effort are key, and there is no reason why every student should not receive an award during the course of the year.
Well, here we are; the end of what has doubtless been another productive term. I shall not share my highlights with you at this point as I will save them for the next Newsletter, which will be issued early next term. Some I couldn’t possibly share at all! Besides, there are too many to list.
Thank you, parents, carers and all other members of the Wellington community for your continued support of the School and its students. We acknowledge that we don’t always get it right but with your input we can always strive to get better.
Enjoy a well-earned Easter weekend (I’m off, with some reluctance at the moment, on a rugby tour to the Lake District at 7 a.m. tomorrow!) and whatever the rest of the break may bring.
S P Beeley
Welcome to Wellington School
Thank you for taking the time to view our website. I would like to begin by saying what an absolute honour it is to be the Headteacher of such an outstanding school. I relish the challenge of maintaining the exceptional standards established over many years and, indeed, moving Wellington forward in the future.
Wellington School is an 11 – 18 Academy with Humanities Specialism. Our motto is ‘Excellence in Everything’ and that is our aim in everything we do. To achieve this, high standards are expected of all our students and staff. All of our work is anchored in the values of mutual respect, responsibility, discipline, care for the individual and high achievement.
We are proud of our school and the achievements of our students, and our success is reflected in our popularity. High levels of student attendance and above average academic achievement – compared to schools both locally and nationally – are a clear sign of the value students and parents place on the experience of being part of Wellington School community.
We hope you enjoy our website and find it both informative and useful.
Stuart Beeley, Headteacher
I am pleased to publish the results and my thoughts on the latest Kirkland Rowell Parent Survey - please see the new tab at the top of the page ' Parent Survey 2013'.